05/22/2009 11:00PM

Johnie Bye Night back on favorite track


Is this the year that Father Time has finally caught up with Johnie Bye Night?

The 7-year-old Johnie Bye Night, winless in his last seven starts, seeks to capture the $50,000 George Barker Handicap at Finger Lakes for the fourth straight year on Monday's Memorial Day program.

Last May, Johnie Bye Night went wire to wire in the six-furlong Barker, restricted to New York-breds, improving his record over his home course to 5 wins in 7 starts. But he wasn't the same horse when trainer Charlton Baker took him out of town to several different tracks and he backed up badly to finish last in a restricted stakes in his most recent start, which came over Aqueduct's inner track in January.

Based on his workouts, the return to his home base may have Johnie Bye Night revved up for a big effort. He shows three consecutive bullets since May 4.

The main threats to Johnie Bye Night's bid for a four-peat in a field of six older sprinters are the 4-year-old Be Bullish and the 6-year-old Mr. Bourbon Street.

Be Bullish, who finished 23 lengths in front of Johnie Bye Night when they met in January, shortens up to a sprint after finishing second going a one-turn mile at Belmont Park, earning a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure.

Mr. Bourbon Street, no worse than second in 6 of 7 starts locally, was the runner-up in last year's Barker, beaten three-quarters of a length. In his only start since last July, Mr. Bourbon Street was used up in a speed duel over a sloppy track at Belmont.